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Spaceflight: Licensing

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 20440, tabled on 22 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what assessment his Department has made of the potential merits of introducing a cap on the unlimited liability required by UK space launch and satellite operations licensees.

Answered on

29 June 2021

All operator licences issued under the Space industry Act 2018 will contain a limit of operator liability with respect to claims under section 34 and 36 of the Space Industry Act.

The Government intends to calculate launch liability limits using the Modelled Insurance Requirement (MIR) approach. This will tailor the insurance required to the risk and the diverse range of UK launch activities today and anticipated in the future and reduce operator costs in general compared with a fixed limit.

For orbital operations, the limits of operator liability for licences under the Space Industry Act will mirror those for licences issued under the Outer Space Act 1986:

  • For standard missions, the lability limit will be set at €60 million.
  • For high risk missions the liability limit will be set on a case-by case basis, following an appropriate risk assessment.

Operators will therefore not be facing unlimited liability for actions carried out in compliance with the Space Industry Act 2018 and licence conditions.